by Rick Cheek
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
“Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. AMEN!”
What an amazing prayer St. Bernard wrote for the church many years ago. A prayer that we, as World Youth Day pilgrims, prayed many times during the course of WYD, asking our Mother for graces and favors during some trials and tribulations on our pilgrimage this summer.
After Mass in Toledo, Spain, I shared with Archbishop Naumann that the cathedral was closed since it was a holy day and we would not be able to take the tour.
“Well, Rick, why don’t you say the ‘Memorare’ nine times and just maybe, when we meet back, it will be open” was his answer.
I have to be honest — I said more than nine; it was more like 18, but, sure enough, Mary answered my prayer. From that moment on, throughout WYD, Mary had our back throughout the pilgrimage.
I really like what Father Bill Bruning said in a homily at Fatima, Portugal, our last stop on our pilgrimage. You can’t just be a Jesus priest without loving Mary as much. You can’t be Catholic without giving Mary the honor she deserves. Mary was our go-to person, and I’ve grown more in love with her, thanks to words of our shepherd.
One of my fondest memories comes from a homily given by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who talked about the word JOY: Jesus, Others and Yourself! If you put those in that order and add the intercession of Our Mother Mary, you can’t go wrong. I was so proud of our young people during the pilgrimage. One of my favorite quotes when things are not going well is to just “offer it up.” I don’t remember saying that once.
Mary, mother most holy, pray for us